December 2017

A Classical Crossover Christmas Album Review Marathon

Now that I’ve taken care of the opera singers’ for this year, it’s time for me to take a look at some of my favorite classical crossover singers and their respective holiday albums. Charlotte Church and Placido Domingo have struck again and this time they have brought in a couple of friends, the splendidly elegant Vanessa Williams and the warm-hearted Tony Bennett. Ah, the charismatic, down-to-earth, and simply put fine, Billy Gilman. He was a charming, young country-singing prodigy as a lad and nowadays, he still keeps his trademark charm, lovability, and wonderful appeal. To make your holidays warm and cozy, we have the fine, down-to-earth, gentleman of a crossover singer, the one, the only Josh Groban. He is additionally joined by a fine selection of songsters, who have accompanied him on this holiday journey. Finally, we have the queen of classical crossover, Sarah Brightman, gracing the listeners with her lilting soprano voice, which gave life to the melodies she sang.   This concludes my overall holiday album review marathon for this year, yet do stay tuned for some animated holiday special tributes and lookbacks.

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A Continuation of My Classical Christmas Album Review Marathon

My Classical Christmas Album Review Marathon continues with a plush-toned coloratura soprano accompanied by fine pop star singing up some Polish holiday melodies, a lovely British nightingale, a gorgeous Swedish lyric-dramatic mezzo-soprano, an iconic German lyric baritone known for his style, ease, and manner, and a great and famous Welsh bass-baritone with a versatile repertoire. First on this list is the absolutely astounding, amazing, and awesome Aleksandra Kurzak accompanied by the fine and elegant pop star, Sebastian Karpiel-Bulecka, and they have a fine selection of Polish Yuletide melodies to keep you all warm and toasty. Wesołych Świąt! Next, we have the sweet songstress of a nightingale from England, yet currently based in Prague, the lovely Christina Johnston, known to the world for her extensive upper register with her brief yet magical holiday album of famous tunes. Veselé Vánoce! Thirdly, we have the gorgeously flexible and awesomely eclectic lyric-dramatic mezzo-soprano hailing from Sweden, Madame Anne-Sofie von Otter, and her alluring collection of melodies not only from her homeland but also from different lands and centuries. God jul! Fourth, we step back in time for the fabulous Berliner lyric baritone, Herr Hermann Prey, and his selections of Lieder well-suited to this holiday season. Frohet Neuet! Finally, we have the great Welshman! The mighty yet down-to-earth, Mister Bryn Terfel, who is offering us a great selection of not only the popular classics but also some wonderful Welsh melodies. Nadolig Llawen! I hope you continue to enjoy this album review marathon, as there will be more to come. Happy Holidays!

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A Tantalizingly Tuneful Tenor Christmas Album Review Marathon

My Christmas has been getting super exciting all thanks to these awesome, uplifting, and extremely energetic tenors, who are not only well-known in the operatic world but also in making the holidays exciting and euphoric!   First, we have the ardent and adamant French-Sicilian offering a trifecta of Christmas albums, complete with holiday classics, sacred songs, and some songs, which have ended up becoming my absolute favorites. To grace us all with his exceptional musicianship, the ever pristine, gallant, and charming Mexican lyric tenor, El Gran Señor Ramon Vargas, demonstrates his alluring singing voice in this Christmas album, complete with a masterful conductor, a serene Baroque orchestra, and a lovely children’s choir. Feliz Navidad a todos! Then, we have the greatest trio to not only grace the opera world but also the music world in general. That’s right! It’s the legendary Three Tenors, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and Jose Carreras singing up a blizzard not only our favorite Christmas Carols but also some fine chamber music. Buon Natale a voi tutti! To wrap up this festive tenor celebration, we have the handsome, dashing, yet ill-fated cavalier of a lyric tenor, Fritz Wunderlich, caroling the night away with such grace and beauty alongside such wonderful colleagues like Hermann Prey, Gundula Janowitz, and Christa Ludwig. Frohe Weihnachten an euch allen!

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The ACC – A Shitty, Shitty, Shitty, Shitty Christmas

Thanks to Jack SkyBlue’s urging, this became a reality.  Wrote this at 4 to 5 am-ish as I was preparing to leave for Dallas Fort Worth airport and return to HI, in the probably the most sheltered household I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying in.  This is admittedly “12 Pains of Christmas” inspired, but instead I’ve chosen to butcher “Carol of the Bells”; while I like the tune, my complete ignorance of the lyrics has made it far easier.  20 Christmas cards and one broken wine glass later, here we are.  Ding dong, ding dong.

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My Thoughts on Puccini’s La Boheme starring Elena Guseva

It is the night before I leave for Helsinki for my Christmas and New Year’s break. So, what better way to greet my holiday than with a soprano I read a lot about online, yet have not seen nor heard her live, the fine, young lirico-spinto soprano, Signorina Elena Guseva. Enjoy the review and let me know your opinions as well.

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